HeliMods to digitise Siemens’ design and manufacturing process


HeliMods, an Australian aerospace technology manufacturer, will leverage Siemens’ Xcelerator software portfolio to digitise its product design and manufacturing process. HeliMods will be the first company of its size in the Australian aerospace sector to do so. 

Implementing Closed-Loop Manufacturing (CLM) using Siemens’ Manufacturing Execution System (MES) will allow HeliMods to develop and produce high complexity, high value, scalable solutions using a single digital thread across the entire product lifecycle. 

The software implementation was enabled by a $350,000 co-investment grant from the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre (AMGC). It will support HeliMods’ global and local growth trajectory in key industries like aerospace, defence and air ambulance. In total, the project will see an investment of $808,543 from combined AMGC, industry and in-kind contributions. 

“Thanks to this project, HeliMods is now the only Australian business with Defence Production Approval that is using such a Closed Loop Manufacturing system, offering Australia a unique new sovereign defence industry capability-based right here on the Coast,” Federal MP Andrew Wallace said. 

The MES solution will also help HeliMods reduce development timeframe and cost and increase efficiency while also allowing increased levels of product innovation. 

HeliMods is also the only Australian business with Defence Production Approval from the Australian Defence Aviation Safety Authority (DASA), that is leveraging this combination of technologies. 

“With these digital tools we can take our innovations to the world,” HeliMods founder and managing director Will Shrapnel said. 

“As we grow in strength and market scope, it is critical to leverage the hi-tech manufacturing technology that enables highly streamlined work, freeing up our talent to focus more on product innovation.” 

The new system will enable HeliMods to connect to physical manufacturing infrastructure anywhere in the world without the requirement for person-centric links. It also provides complete product traceability, oversight and data trust for high-security industries such as defence. 

“HeliMods is a great example of Australian ingenuity and innovation that has flourished using digital technologies. What we see time and time again is that those companies investing in digitalisation and automation to create technology with purpose can compete with anyone in the world,” Siemens Australia chairman and CEO Jeff Connolly said. 

“HeliMods have continued to innovate not just what they produce but how they produce it. This means increased speed, flexibility, efficiency and better outcomes for the world such as their one-touch stretcher system for search and rescue helicopters. And with support of federal government programs such as the AMGC, these companies can get a leg up, grow faster and bring their great innovations to life,” said Mr Connolly. 

AMGC managing director Dr. Jens Goennemann also acknowledged that an increasing number of Australian manufacturers are looking for new ways to drive innovation, productivity and competitiveness and that funding plays a key role in supporting this intention. 

“Commercialisation of Australian innovation is critical to the growth of the industry,” he said. 

“However, beyond the support with co-investment, our intention as an industry-led organisation is to provide the right-fit support for businesses that are scaling up. In the case of HeliMods, it’s collaboration with industry experts like Siemens that sets them up for future growth.” 

The MES agreement extends Siemens’ existing relationship with HeliMods that has seen HeliMods use Siemens’ software to design and deliver the world’s-first Powered Aero Loader™ (PAL™) to customers such as Ornge, an air ambulance and medical transport organisation in Canada, and helicopter fleet transformation services to RACQ LifeFlight in Queensland. 

Utilising Siemens’ NX™ computer-aided (CAD) software integrated with Teamcenter® Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) software, both from Siemens’ Xcelerator portfolio of software and services, HeliMods has interactively designed all product components and leveraged the diverse array of advanced software integrations available, such as computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) and computer-aided engineering (CAE) to effectively iterate and create optimised product solutions for its customers. 

For further information about the project, visit https://www.amgc.org.au/project/closed-loop-manufacturing/